Print version ISSN 1519-566X
BARBOSA, Veralucia S.; LEAL, Inara R.; IANNUZZI, Luciana and ALMEIDA-CORTEZ, Jarcilene. Distribution pattern of herbivorous insects in a remnant of Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2005, vol.34, n.5, pp. 701-711. ISSN 1519-566X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2005000500001.
In this study we selected three habitats that correspond to a light gradient, and consequently a proportion of pioneer plant species gradient edges, trails and forest core and described their herbivorous insect assemblage. We tested five hypothesis about the herbivorous assemblage: (1) there is a different distribution of abundance and richness of order between habitats, (2) species similarity between habitats is smaller than within habitat, (3) in forest edge the herbivores are more abundant than in trails and interior of the forest, (4) in nuclear areas herbivore richness and diversity are higher than in the trails and edge, and (5) the abundance and richness of herbivores are different between seasons. Herbivorous were sampled during November 2000 - May 2001 by scanning the plants in ten 1,000-m 3 transects per habitat, five per season. We sampled 1,424 adult individuals from 367 species of six orders. Orthoptera and Coleoptera were the most abundant herbivores in the edge and interior, respectively. Coleoptera showed the highest species diversity in the forest edge, while Lepidoptera was in the interior. The similarity of the fauna between habitats was smaller than within habitats. The values of abundance, richness and diversity in the edge were higher than those of trails and interior for both seasons. We suggest that the low richness of herbivores in the interior of the forest is due to a reduction of specialist groups associated to plant species characteristic of mature forest, which are locally extinct in the study area.
Keywords : Fragmentation; herbivorous insect assemblage; herbivory; insect diversity; plant defense; plant-insect interaction.